South Korean minister resigns amid tensions with North

Elias Hubbard
July 3, 2020

His sister, Kim Yo-jong, had given orders to the army more than a week ago, stating that they would "decisively carry out the next action" in part because of what Pyongyang said was Seoul's failure to stop activists sending anti-regime leaflets over the border attached to balloons.

South Korea issued a joint statement with the United States, which fought alongside it during the 1950-53 war triggered by a surprise North Korean invasion.

Kim Jong Un ordered the suspension of military actions against South Korea, a move that could ease tensions after North Korea blew up a liaison office built by Seoul and warned of further provocations.

Authorities said Park's activities are unnecessarily raising animosities between the Koreas and potentially endangering residents in border areas.

The 1950-1953 Korean War ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving US-led United Nations forces technically still at war with North Korea.

Kim Yong-chol, vice chairman of the North's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee, attends a political event in Pyongyang on Monday, according to footage released by the state-run Korean Central Television. In 2014, North Korean troops opened fire at propaganda balloons flying toward their territory, triggering an exchange of fire that caused no known causalities.

In the evening, South Korea held a ceremony with 300 war veterans, bereaved relatives and government officials at a military airport near Seoul. The penalty for violations is a year in prison and up to a 10 million won ($8,200) fine. Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono told reporters Thursday that he believes North Korea might have attempted to divert public attention away from problems such as the coronavirus. It said the four groups have been accused of exploiting leafleting as way to collect donations as a money-making business, rather than a human rights movement.

Pyongyang, however, suddenly said Wednesday that it has "suspended" military action plans against Seoul, although the intention of the announcement was unclear and it remains doubtful whether the move will trigger a thaw in inter-Korean relations.

"On this historic day that we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Korean War", Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a video sent to a ceremony held in South Korea, "I remember our hallowed martyrs with grace and our veterans with gratitude".

"Our plan of distributing the leaflets against the enemy is an eruption of the unquenchable anger of all the people and the whole society", the North's official Korean Central News Agency said, in a typically colorful tone.

South Korean news outlets also reported that large propaganda loudspeakers installed last week on the mutual Korean border had suddenly disappeared, presumably without ever broadcasting any communist propaganda into the country. Hongcheon police said they couldn't immediately confirm the report.

Her warning came after the North announced earlier this month that it was cutting off all communication lines to the South, including any between the two leaders.

North Korea has lashed out at Seoul for not stopping the propaganda launches sooner.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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